Jose Mourinho is undoubtedly one of the most polarizing figures in world football.
You either love him or you hate him.
Mourinho’s slow-paced, ultra-conservative style of football hasn’t exactly endeared him to fans over the years but he wins trophies, the defining measurement of great managers.
The Portuguese gaffer arrived at Tottenham in November of 2019 after a tumultuous stint at Man United. The expectation from Spurs fans was that he could finally win some trophies for a perennially trophy-less side.
Last season, Mourinho was unable to fulfill those trophy aspirations, finishing 6th in the Premier League, just barely sneaking into European competition.
Coming into this year, it felt like a trophy or bust for the Spurs.
Mourinho had won the league title five times in his second season at a club, including twice at Tottenham’s London rival Chelsea. “Second season Jose” is normally unstoppable and it felt like a given that Spurs would finally get their hands on some silverware.
Well, things haven’t exactly gone according to plan. We’re now almost into April and Tottenham are once again struggling for a trophy.
The team is out of the Europa League and currently sit outside of the top 4 in the EPL.
It’s time to ask the question: Should Jose Mourinho be sacked?
No: The Players are the Problem, Not the Manager
There are good arguments to be made on both sides of this debate and it has to be noted that Mourinho still has a chance to win a trophy this season. Spurs play Man City in the Carabao Cup final in about a month’s time but no one, not even Tottenham supporters, expects them to win that matchup. The main argument for why Mourinho should not be sacked is that his players have quite simply failed him in recent months. I have to say, outside of Harry Kane and Son, this is a mediocre Tottenham roster.
Outside of those two world-class players, Mourinho has nobody to turn to for an offensive spark. Tanguy Ndombele is a budding star in Tottenham’s midfield, exemplified by his brilliant performance against Aston Villa over the weekend (a 2-0 victory for Spurs), but even he has had an up-and-down season. Ndombele represents the biggest problem within this Tottenham squad: consistency. You really don’t know what you’re going to get from this Spurs team on match day and that makes selection very difficult for Mourinho. This month, they’ve won three straight matches in the league before losing two in a row to Arsenal and Dinamo Zagreb, whose manager had been sent to prison three days before the match (no, this isn’t a joke). The Zagreb loss in particular stuck with Mourinho.
Not only did the loss boot Spurs from the Europa League, but it also was yet another example of a spineless Tottenham performance in big moments. After the game, Mourinho didn’t hold back with the criticism of his squad, saying that they “lacked respect for their jobs” and didn’t give everything on the pitch. The problems at Tottenham go beyond just the manager and it is impossible to fully evaluate Mourinho when he is working with a squad that simply isn’t good enough to win trophies.
Yes: Mourinho’s Tactics are Outdated and Don’t Fit This Tottenham Squad
Flexibility is an extremely important trait of a good manager. At Porto and Chelsea, Mourinho was considered a revolutionary, a brilliant tactician who changed the way football was played across the world. His system matched the skillsets of his players. Mourinho was flexible and innovative, a large reason why he was so successful at his previous clubs. However, he is no longer the young manager on the block and is seemingly unwilling to update his defensive-based system to the fast-paced style of play that is common today.
Mourinho likes to “park the bus,” but Tottenham doesn’t have the squad necessary to play out from the back for 90 minutes. Mourinho’s system would work a whole lot better if Spurs had quality defenders. Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez are not good enough to be on the ball all the time. In just about every big game for Tottenham this season, they’ve played behind the ball, not generating enough quality chances to earn positive results.
I can’t even imagine what things would be like if Tottenham fans were in the stands and had to watch their team park the bus against Arsenal after going a goal up. I’m not sure Mourinho would last very long in North London. Listen, I’m not here to diminish the greatness of Mourinho, but his style of football is boring and outdated.
Mourinho was never going to be a good fit at Tottenham if he didn’t update his playing style for the modern game. As this season progresses, it has become clear that Mourinho is unwilling to adapt.
Will He Get Sacked?
It’s difficult to say whether or not Mourinho starts next season as Tottenham manager. A lot depends on whether or not the Spurs finish in the top four in the league and if they can pull off the upset against Man City to win their first trophy in 13 years. I would be surprised if he is sacked before the end of the season although rumors about a possible Mourinho sacking are on the rise after that embarrassing Europa League exit.
If he’s unable to finish top 4 or secure a trophy, then I’d guess he’s almost certainly out. Even he accomplishes one of those two goals there is still a very good argument to be made for his sacking.
The Spurs have been underwhelming all season and while it’s not entirely Mourinho’s fault, a lot of the blame will fall on his shoulders.
Featured Image: Football.London